Inherited Craziness
A place to share all the nuts found on my family tree

Sunday, 30 August 2020

The King and Queen, St George in the East

Chapel Street, St. George in the East was later renamed Tait Street (although the street doesn't exist at all now - current Tait Street is a completely different location). The King and Queen Public house, long since demolished, stood on the corner of Tait Street and Mary Street. You can quite clearly see the area referred to as 'a yard in the rear' of the premises where events took place.

Edward Green, one of my 3x great-grandfathers, originally a cabinet maker, was landlord of the King and Queen public house in St George in the East - former civil parish in Shadwell, north of Wapping in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets - from the 1850's until his death, in 1870, at age 50, from liver and kidney disease (one can't help wondering if he'd been rather regularly sampling his own stock) when his wife, Eliza Goodman, apparently from Braintree in Essex, then became landlady of the said pub for a further five years.

On the 1861 Census the family are listed as living at 25, Mary Street, St George in the East and, in 1871, the address for his widow and family is given as 51 Tait Street. This was useful to determine that these are actually the same place, with the pub located on the corner of those two streets.

Anyway, it would seem from the newspaper report I've discovered (see below) that Edward Green was the subject of a sting operation, authorised right from the top in Scotland Yard. (If you're going to do something, aim high!)

Fascinating to read dialogue that came straight out of the mouths of these ancestors, even if they do sound, shall we say, a bit on the rough side.  

Sunday opening I can forgive him for. That's not even a crime now.

Trying to dob his missus in for it though, puleeez nooooo ....


From The Morning Chronicle of Monday, November 8, 1858.

SUNDAY IN A PUBLIC HOUSE – ARTS OF THE POLICE


Edward Green, the landlord of the King and Queen public-house, in Chapel Street, St. George’s-in-the-East, appeared at the Thames Police-court, on Saturday, on a police information charged with unlawfully opening his house for the sale of ale, beer and spirituous liquors on Sunday morning last, during the hours prohibited by law.

Richard Blanks, a police-constable, 81 K, stated that he was directed by Mr. Superintendent Howie, of the K division, to detect the defendant, who was in the practice of supplying people with beer and spirits on Sunday, during the whole of the day, while other houses were closed. He went to the house in plain clothes, dressed as a waterman, and was accompanied by Mrs. Randall, the female searcher at the station-house adjoining the Thames Police-court, who was the wife of a police-constable. On reaching the defendant’s house Mrs. Randall knocked at the front door, and waited some time without its being answered, and he said, “Come old lady, we shall not be served with anything here.” The door was then opened by the defendant, who narrowly scrutinised them both, and after looking at the trousers of witness, which were not blue [a laugh], said, “You will do; have what you like,” and directed them to a side door, which was opened, and they were admitted into the house and directed to a yard in the rear, in which was a private bar fitted up. There were 20 men and women in front of the small bar, and they were served with rum, gin, ale, beer, and tobacco. He saw others admitted at the side door, and let out after they were served at the back door. Mrs. Randall asked for two pennyworth of gin and cold water, which was supplied to her. He then called the landlady on one side, and told her she was doing wrong. She said, “What of it?” He then asked for the landlord, and told him what he had seen and he said it was a bad job.

The defendant, in reply to the charge, said that he could not contradict what was said. He was not aware what was done in the house. His wife did it all, and admitted people into the house without his knowledge.

Mr. Yardley: Where was the landlord – the defendant, I mean?

Blanks: He was at the front door. He directed me to the side door.

Mr Yardley: To be sure; you said so before. Don’t tell me, Mr. Green, you were not aware of it. It is a most flagrant case.

Sir Richard Mayne KCB (27 November 1796 – 26 December 1868) was a barrister and the joint first Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis, the head of the London Metropolitan Police (1829–1868).
Inspector Hayes, of the K division, said repeated complaints had been made by licenced victuallers and beer shop keepers, who complied with the law, of the practice adopted by the defendant, who stood at the front door to reconnoitre, while persons were admitted at the side door. Mr. Howie, the superintendent, had made a special complaint to Sir Richard Mayne, the Chief Commissioner of Police, and had received his permission to adopt the means of detection used on Sunday morning last. Mr. Howie intended to be present to explain to the magistrate why he adopted the unusual step of allowing a woman to accompany the constable, but was obliged to leave the court to meet the commissioners.

Mr. Yardley: There is no harm in the means adopted to detect the defendant. No trap was laid. Mr. Howie was perfectly justified in doing what he has done. There is nothing illegitimate in the mode of finding out what was going on. I would not convict if a trap had been laid, but it appears there were 20 persons in the house. I shall deviate from the ordinary practice where a first offence has been proved. I generally treat a first offence lightly, but I fine the defendant £3 and costs, because he has broken the law systematically.

The fine was instantly paid.

[£3 in 1858 is equivalent to about £375 in 2020. Source.]

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